Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said on Tuesday he was ready to be deployed to wherever the ANC needed him, and wasn’t too disappointed he didn’t make it back as a minister following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle last week.
“The President is running things, and in a sense I would like to have gone back, but I’m still in South Africa,” a jovial and relaxed Jonas told The Citizen yesterday.
Jonas has been punted by the EFF as a replacement for DA mayor of Port Elizabeth, Athol Trollip, following a falling out with its coalition partner over land expropriation without compensation.
In an impromptu press conference following the launch of anti-racism week at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, Jonas said he was not expecting to be recalled.
“I live by the day, I was not expecting to be considered, I’ll continue to do my political work, I’ll always contribute to society,” Jonas said.
Speaking on land expropriation, Jonas said it was time to move away from slogans.
“We need to know the exact programme. I mean, what is the package? Because somebody could say, I don’t like expropriation, I like expropriation, it remains a slogan in the absence of a well thought program to deal with the land,” Jonas said.
“You can’t escape the need for asset redistribution, it’s an important aspect to address social justice.”
He noted there were many implications to land expropriation.
“Remember that if I take your house I affect the bank, I affect somebody else, so that’s why I say we need to move beyond the slogans.”
Jonas said everything around land was interconnected.
“The financial sector is interconnected with the land sector which is interconnected with agriculture, it’s interconnected with manufacturing and so on. So, if you move one part it has implications on the rest of the system.”
It was a busy 2016/17 for Jonas, especially after a furore erupted over his claim to then public protector Thuli Madonsela he had been offered the job of finance minister and R600 million by Ajay Gupta.
Now, with the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority moving on the Guptas, their businesses and associates, Jonas welcomed the move.
“It was a good thing to happen, ultimately the rule of law must apply,” Jonas told The Citizen.
Jonas praised the capabilities of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
“These are good people,” Jonas said.